BRISTOL, R.I.- The Eastern Nazarene men's basketball team saw its seven-game winning-streak halted with a 71-66 loss at Roger Williams Wednesday evening. The Lions slip to 13-4 overall and 7-3 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. The Hawks improve to 6-11 on the year and 3-7 in league play with the win.
Rookie Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) finished with 15 points, six rebounds and six assists. Freshman Eric Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) recorded 13 points and seven rebounds while Chima Ezeigbo (Roanoke, Va.) tallied 11 points and three boards.
Senior Mike McCoy (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) scored nine points and grabbed four rebounds. Max Barbosa (Dorchester, Mass.) registered seven points while Justin Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) netted six. Junior Brian Hard (Weymouth, Mass.) chipped in with a team-high seven rebounds for the visitors.
The visitors grabbed a quick 9-2 lead after McCoy drained a pair of treys and Aaron Johnson (Roslindale, Mass.) nailed one from beyond the arc.
The hosts battled back to level the score at 13-13 on a layup by Mike Igoe with 13:36 left to play. Roger Williams scored back-to-back baskets to claim a four-point edge with 12:34 remaining. The Hawks increased their lead to five with 9:21 on the clock as Josh McCourt sank a three-pointer, 20-15.
The Lions clawed back to take a 26-25 lead with 5:36 left to go in the first half on a trey by McCoy. A fast-break lay-in by Alex Jarman (Portsmouth, R.I.) pushed Eastern Nazarene's advantage to six points, 31-25, with 4:26 remaining.
Eastern Nazarene clasped to a 33-27 lead at intermission.
McCoy led all scorers at halftime with nine points on 3-of-4 shooting from downtown. Ezeigbo and Owens each netted seven first-half points. The rookie also grabbed four boards in the first frame.
The Lions shot 40.6% from the floor in the opening stanza and 40.0% from long distance. Roger Williams owned a field-goal percentage of 38.5% at the break while connecting on 5-of-8 from three-point range.
The Hawks scored nine consecutive points in the early stages of the second period to seize a one-point lead, 36-35.
After Owens banked in a lay-up to restore Eastern Nazarene's lead to one, Roger Williams netted seven unanswered points to grab a 43-37 advantage with 14:23 left to play.
The Lions snagged a one-point margin with 11 minutes on the clock as Justin Wagner buried a three-pointer, 44-43.
The home team reclaimed a 45-44 lead on its ensuing possession and stretched the gap to 11 points with 3:55 left to play, 64-53, as Ryan Palumbo sank a free throw.
The visitors cut the deficit to two in the final minute of action as Barbosa hit a three-pointer, 68-66.
The Lions' defense caused a turnover and Justin Wagner missed a pair of shots from the charity stripe to knot the game at 68-68.
Roger Williams knocked down three free throws in the final 19 seconds of the contest to seal the victory.
Eastern Nazarene shot 35.9% from the field on the night and 37.5% from behind the arc. The Hawks shot 39.4% from the floor in the game and hit 10 treys on 18 attempts.
Up next, the Lions welcome Wentworth to the Lahue Physical Education Center January 26. Eastern Nazarene will be looking to avenge a 59-50 loss to the Leopards earlier this season.